On September 22, forty-two conservation, fishing, clean energy and outdoor organizations from across the Pacific Northwest delivered letters to the members of congress in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
The organizations express grave concerns about the potential impacts and risks to our communities, businesses, and environment if Exxon’s is successful in establishing a brand-new “high and wide” mega-industrial transportation corridor through the heart of the Pacific Northwest.
Big Oil in the form of ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips is seeking to create an industrial transportation route to move massive tar sands equipment up the Columbia and Snake Rivers via barge and then overland on Idaho’s scenic Highway 12 – next to the wild and scenic (and salmon and steelhead-bearing) Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers and along the historic trail of Lewis and Clark. Reaching Montana, 200 loads – each more than 200 feet long, 50 feet wide, 500,000 pounds, will turn north into Canada.
If you haven’t heard about this, you are not alone. Exxon’s plan was in its final stages when the public was notified earlier this summer. Lots of questions must be answered before permission should be granted. What are the risks and potential impacts to local businesses, communities and our environment? What are the costs and what are the benefits for Northwest people? We need the federal government to change course and conduct a full assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of this proposed corridor before anything else goes forward.